Tag Archives: 2018

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our ideas of now

Our ideas will fall short of describing our full experience and surroundings. But maybe my main message to readers (to the future people?) is to remind them of our ideas’ limits.

What’s it like to be alive in 2018? I could talk about my concerns over national politics or local institutions, or my personal problems with health and money— but no doubt the 1874 people could’ve listed their own problems that would be equivalently concerning/important for them. I’m presuming here that they weren’t all that different from us—for all their particular technology and circumstances, they created us and shaped the world into which we were born. It’s frankly arrogant of us to think they don’t matter (though, I mean, if one’s starving, one needs food more than one needs a story). Yet to say they created conditions that later came about (technological and scholarly innovation of then shaped what came later) is also to generalize.

I said to Mom Thursday that I try not to complain—though then I complained about those who complain! Ha!

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our ideas (M came in the room singing “This is America” song) of now—but it’s useful to know these contemporary ideas aren’t the whole realm of ideas, either—dethroning contemporary ideas.

[From journal of Sat., 9 June 2018, Journal 277, page 201-3]

It’s overcast but got darker yet

It’s overcast but got darker yet in the last few seconds. Supposedly this rain today is from remnant of clouds of (sub)tropical storm Alberto, which was in Florida Panhandle a few days ago. Rain may be picking up again. I checked my garden—the puddles seem to have gone away once rainpour slowed.

Cat and dog are both at the deck door, dog looking out, cat to his right, then out, then to his left, toward me. Damn, heavy rain, blowing against—crashing against—windows to my west.

I did get the garbage bins out to curb. I took apart that gray-seated chair whose shiny metal seat support-weld broke a few months ago and chair’s been in garage a while and I just today took it apart, put small stuff—seats, bars—into garbage but the legs and back uprights will go next week.

I just started more water for tea and looked out window at garden. The puddles along south (uphill) side/edge of garden are back.

[From journal of Weds., 30 May 2018, Journal 277, page 23-5]

Journals—written within time, recording lived time

Some times there are thoughts I don’t dare record. Nothing super creepy—actually, I mean, there are sometimes things, like, say, some criticisms of M, that I reword carefully/politely, or I don’t say them, mostly ‘cuz I’m also learning as I write. I mean, I don’t want to be an asshole, so sometimes I correct myself as I write—I challenge and question myself, which is one of the coolest things about doing these freewrites: the self-teaching, the self-correction.

So often, writing escapes time—it collapses time by summarizing, it takes an overview perspective—a perspective outside of time—like telling the story while knowing how it ends. But my journals don’t do that—they’re written within time, from that perspective where there’s lotsa details. I mean, there are so many things to write about when you’re not just summarizing the high points!

But also, I don’t know where things are headed—what things happening now, today, will later seem important and which won’t. But the beautiful thing is that I am—how to say?—recording lived time in my journals. That’s what all these nearly 300 journals are—a recording of consciousness—and consciousness experience (and consciousness experience even sorta makes, through memory, time).

[From journal of Tues. 3 July 2018, Journal 279, page 116-7]

Take red dictionary as hall pass

10th Hour

DID: 1. Started Sound Poems with 1st, 9th, and maybe I’ll start it 10th hour, too. 2. Told M.L. she could go get her jacket—but she should take red dictionary as hall pass. 3. Saw pink ink on facing page. 4. Saw that I’m already on page 46-7 not even two weeks into this. 5. I heard 9th hour talking but they did some work, too—not sure if we’ll finish tomorrow the sound poems or not.

SAW: 1. Robin’s egg blue shirt 2. Mr. ___ in hallway—I agree with the student(s) in years past who said it’s weird that teachers stare ’em down the length of the hall. 3. I don’t really have need to talk … I mean, small-talk-wise, I can just listen, ask them about themselves. 4. Saw, well, a couple stacks of papers on my desk. 4. Saw an email … about subbing 2nd tomorrow. I said I’d do it, but I also said I want to be last-resort sub. 5. Saw my binder to my right.

HEARD: people clicking pens, turning pages.

[From school journal of Weds. 29 Aug. 2018, Journal 285, page 46]

When a life gets turned into a story, there’s all too often a moral attached

I had the grim thought this morning: how’d I end up here—in this life, with this job, this house, this debt—the class middle-age question. But, of course, I could be in such a worse position by this age, too—homeless, jailed, etc., etc. It’s perhaps as if our lives are roles, or a series of roles, we can play—and there can be second chances, redemption, all that—and by the time we get to the end of our lives, there is our story, as complicated as each person’s story is—and of course, I don’t really believe that stories exist at all—we are just our physical bodies, unless we tell those stories. We’re skeletons showing particular signs of wear or breakage—the stuff the archaeologists look at.

And there is an old working-class poet in England’s 18th Cent., someone Duck—and a Mary Leapor, who died at age 24, and she too was a poet. I read some article about 18th Cent. writers Talcott [or Talbot?] & Gibbons complaining about lack of time to read—and she died, this M.L. person, at 24—and her book of poems was published posthumously and she got in trouble at her maid/nanny jobs for writing instead of working—the boss didn’t want to pay for poetry—although this Duck—and he had a “Duck’s Acre,” a field whose rent goes to pay for a party, donated by Lord Palmerston—and I’m bogging down in details. These names too are just ideas to contemplate. Their lives are mere stories for me now—and it’s never great when a story gets, when a life gets, turned into a story—there’s all too often a moral attached.

But it’s also kinda interesting to be reminded that there were poor poets, worker poets, even then—and this Duck fellow became a pastor. His position, his sermons, may be dated, stuck in history—merely of his time—but his passion for religion, his religious feeling—it’s easily glossed over, but that would be one way to connect to him as a person who could also be alive now—I mean, someone who’s not merely defined as an old timer from long ago. These are the things I’d like to connect to in people long ago–their human nature? That’s vague as fu*k, that term, but what would it have been like to be in his company, or to be friend or relative of his. Sure, there are summaries—”Papa was a jovial guy,” for example—but those don’t well capture the sense of that person being alive.

And being alive can be tough, you know? I don’t always think being conscious is always a good. Hell, we spend 1/3rd (or should spend that much time) of our lives unconscious as it is.

[From journal of Sun., 2 Sept. 2018, Journal 283, page 40-5]

These journals never had or purported to be complete records

I got the WYSE Team registered this week. That’s something that was on my mind for weeks as a task I needed to do. And I have graded lots this week, and I’ve worked with many students—Rhet & Comp kids on their research papers, Creative Writing kids on their portfolios. I’ve been surprised by how many kids use Google Docs but skip Google Drive—I wonder if students nowdays aren’t as likely to think of working in file systems. One student said he moved each of 16 files into a folder one at a time. He wasn’t aware of highlighting several at once, I guess. But presumably kids will change as they grow and need to do different types of computer projects.

But it doesn’t help me to look at all the work I did this week—it seems exhausting—and it doesn’t help to look at all the work I have yet to do. Do what you can, you know—I mean, do what you can at the moment.

It’s 6:38. I’ve gotta get the dog walked again—he didn’t poop on our earlier walk. There’s so much about my experience that I don’t say—but these journals never had or purported to be complete records of all my life activities, you know?—

And yeah—a dog is presence—and probably it wouldn’t hurt to think of a person as a presence, too—as something, as a being, who’s magically alive, “magical” in the sense of inexplicable—and in the sense of one’s life—one’s consciousness, one’s mind, one’s presence—never being fully capturable in any medium, nor fully understood in realtime.

[From journal of Fri. 14 Dec. 2018, Journal 290, page 217-9]

‘My dad is not nice like an animal’: Exquisite Corpse poems, Fall 2018

Here are this semester’s Creative Writing classes’ poems written in the Exquisite Corpse method.  What I love about these lines is how they were created almost randomly but have a kinda of weird logic. I like how some of these seem almost brilliant, in an obtuse way. See here for previous semesters’ poems.

Badly rotten cheese is so good like a turtle with no man.

Window sills are very creaky shoes.

Some things just don’t change my desk.

Biscuits and gravy are nastier than a big pile of food on the dog.

The cow goes moo, moo, moo, and the chicken goes either way depending on top of the horse.

I hate the day because people are very good-looking and masculine.

Masculine squirrels are very intimidating.

I feel like I’m a sexy dude, but I stopped at Panera.

Bed time is the best of both worlds.

Mom is an adult with several responsibilities and just wants to have a little fun while a dead cat is a bit off and continued to eat more enchiladas and more frijoles.

When I fail something, it is so annoying but yet so amazing, and I went there today.

The big sky is blue like you never loved your mother.

Your mother is very loving, but I need some porridge.

This chair is loud and it has something to do with aliens.

Seven sandwiches are better with chips and corn bread.

The cow went over to the bull and grabbed its horns, then threw it across the big, bad wolf.

Have a piece of the food I ate.

I felt the cold wind on the old man’s belly.

Good time[s] with my friends come and go like a cat with two frogs.

Two frogs jumped away since I started to swim in the lake everyday.

Dirty people are my fave people to make out under the stairs of the creepy house.

A ghost jumped out at the old cemetery, but I continued to eat bleached sneakers on Monday mornings.

My dad is not nice like an animal.

Sons are everywhere compared to daughters who don’t know what the heck is.

His house smelt like pumpkin patches.

People are my fave corn on the cob.

Water is good to drink all night and party.

Table tops are useful tonight.

I lost my socks. I use[d] them tonight to clean up a large, brown, sticky thing in my head.

People are very interesting creatures in the famous mud swamp.

Like cake is to frosting is just like icing on the chocolate cake.

Boy ran away like a scared little boy.

Weirdo people scare me yet we are still doing a song.

Teens are funny as bunnies.

In the school she hates to eat pizza like Kim Kardashian.

Parties are so lit when the sun comes up and out.

Bananas are what Donkey Kong did not see.

I’ve never tried those, but the cat napped because I loved that lonely dogs love to cry during class while everybody had a great day — except for the crazy lady.

Buy a kangaroo smoothie.

Do you even lift up the back of the eyes from inside?

The frickin’ sun is out and about with my mom.

The mouse hid under the very blue sky.

In my nightmares, I went to the store.

Bump back and forth between the moments.

I dislike many things including my dead wife’s cousin that has three eyes on the prize.

During the big storm, you should have a hand in a large stack of waffles up high in the mountains.

We sit on a chair and are.

I ate a lot of cheese curds because she forgot a camera.

Photograph is the best memory.

You eat donuts at my cat.

Dad left me at the sound of rain.

My pet gold fish ate the dancing lobster; after crying, I ate a new item.

As I sleep, you like to eat my arm.

Dogs only wag for the love of God.

I love making money because I have to go to hell, bro.

Me, myself, and I take the trip and go eat a skunk.

Time is a valuable thing that is only readable handwriting.

My mom said no one likes you. Everyone is so funny nowadays.

I live in the moment for my only begotten son; listen, I am adopted.

Work hard, play hard. Work sucks so I skipped school.

Sadness fills my heart but my stomach growls hourly.

Is everything a pig of the nacho variety?

Cars speed to get to be.

A very loud truck sounds like an old man who looks at the doctor’s office.

Of course you would say mean word to the large man.

We fight me with your fists.

Superheroes wear capes when they all wished unicorns existed.

Hurricane Harvey left a destructive green monster who screams loudly at the TV.

With my sexy self, I look like a bear climbed the trees.

With his hand, he drew — we had to draw something, please — my dog is cute.

Sometimes I see dead people need more tortilla chips.

The mine worker sang about all the fish in the world.

My mom hates school and she hates her stupid loud rabbit.

The ocean is peaceful bananas.

I love seeing my dogs eat a lot of the game of basketball.

New cats have fat toes.

Cake is really good, so he ran her over the hill.

Tall women never use those lemons.

Those lemons make good milk.

We only had one time I fell in a house together.

He laughed while she left her brother at 10 p.m.

Things are not always what you do.

Sadness causes people to be scared of pencils.

Did the alligator bark?

The wind moved softly; the cat purred, for he did not want a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast.

The lonely cat meows for me to be fun.

Best friends don’t lie to no one ever.

A bunny went for a good strong gorilla.

Drake is the best rapper who never uses a rabbit.

Creston sucks at making more than one person.

Will I make chicken, or we die as hero?

Here is a place you are.

When I was little, I took fish from Petco and killed people.

A big fat cat ran before I could crawl in the depths of my story in the river by the cat.

His sword is sharp as the sands of time.

The sidewalk is the beaten path.

Toes, we have ten, and I want cheese curds from Culver’s in Rochelle.

To eat a good meal with her family was the only option, for once I fell in Neverland far away in the manger.

Today I woke up and she did not want a pile of beans.

Very loudly, the man sang a sweet tune that squid is about to make me lose my life.

Stupid police protect our bread.

Butter is so good but I can’t tell you.

I will not go to the store with the town falling asleep.

The stupid bear fell off the cliff (Clif) bars.

Good dogs are better when they only had one bullet.

Free coffee, and since the crazy aliens are real, no one can even deny.

Karly is not how you see an ostrich run.

Wear dogs as hats because they knew that.

Today we have to go into the meadow crying.

Smart is the man who wants lasagna, said mom.

Mom gave birth to 173 Skittles.

I knew I messed up when she is really pretty.

Stupid dog barked at nothing else even matters anymore.

A fat ol’ chicken sat with you on a dinosaur.

Snakes are not real, but what if we were?

The good days were limited to a small cat.

Cats have a nice-enough way of saying, “I’m so pretty,” and he makes me want to ask for her eyes.

Caramel and pistachio deodorant is good for the end of her time.

The inevitable will eventually catch me outside.

The truth can sometimes be lies.

Fun is not something everyone has a secret about.

Shape-shifting is fun when you wish upon a rat.

My life is boring me to death today.

A fish was ugly and looked up at the skylights.

Does anyone make you smile for your health?

I wish I was a lot of mayonaise.

Control your child; he is the biggest I[‘ve] seen.

You a thousand times are very strange to think.

Very strange to think you are not the person I can’t remember.

‘Love is Fake News’: Exquisite Corpse poems, Spring 2018

Here are this semester’s Creative Writing classes’ poems written in the Exquisite Corpse method.  What I love about these lines is how they were created almost randomly but have a kinda of weird logic. I like how some of these seem almost brilliant, in an obtuse way. See here for previous semesters’ poems.

Mysterious is what my relationship goals are not.


My future is the best artist.


The kid who’s rude, he is not all people.


Massive pencils write words fastly.


Night and day are different colors.


I is a letter in the corner that was like nothing.


Greatness exists only in the darkest of nights.


Summer is when I am always struggling to spell out the reasons why.


It was a weird feeling, like the wind understood I was very discombobulated.


Words can make everything interesting.


Writing makes me wanna sleep in your bed tonight in the moonlight under the enchanted sea dance at the red light at the end of trains.


I loved and I lost: one mitten, orange, with the help of shoes on the old person of interests.


Birds are all flying to be or not to run from the police who started at me, a person who loves the cold pillow during the hot summer night.


Time stills in the silence.


A golden mountain lived a long time before the end of the end of the day.


Great people make life worth my time.


You are dumb, even though he can remember his own death.


When I woke up in the sky — tonight is before tomorrow — I will sleep in time.


I watch way too much of what we say.


The picket fence keeps me safe from me.


Coat is all bloody when she hits the baseball bat hard.


Eerie quiet came after I went to Heaven and Hell.


Slowly the body decayed — until the last minute.


The way the waves slide over the next few years.


Stuff is a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff can be really annoying.


Father, why are we fighting chickens?


Always play along with the other people.


In the front of the lonely rowboat that couldn’t go too far away from dogs today, it’s finally Friday.


You are the best person who is good at that.


Sleeping with the fishes is why she left him.


Sentences are fun when you swim with sharks.


Nothing to do with her smile brightens the room.


To love is to live as though you are fairytales.


Integrity is an important attribute of fire.


Cake is the best kind of pizza.


So I learned a new chapter in life: you only live once. Or twice.


It became real to secretly speak to her.


More people will die if I can fly high and eat fresh prince.


My friend, your desire to pass physics class is boring.


Songs are fun to jump off the stairs from.


Light mayonnaise is the best taxidermied pigeon I’d ever seen.


To hide the children, have a secret language.


Pumpkin pie is a good dessert eagle.


Galaxies are very extra around here.


Food is the best thing that looks yellow.


Time something that is priceless.


My sister hit a judge. I am not guilty.


Circles are so dang round like a circle.


Please enjoy the hemoglobin because my mom said no.


The pie is done and now I can really be true and false.


Safety belts out a loud burp.


True feelings are definitely not sure if it’s correct.


My life story is not aloud at Walmart.


I love to sleep like a baby who finds a big kite in the sky.


I went to eat everything in my house, family, love, laughter.


In my best friend is crazy bread.


That an old lady is old and dying seems like quite an apple pie: sugary, delicious.


I can’t breathe. Slow down your thinking.


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed awfully sketchy to me.


With stars I dance.


Parties never really end well.


Dance is fun when you will never know why.


Purpose is just an illusion of dreams and desires.


Hidden talents are just ways to drown a rock.


Hats and cats don’t rhyme like dogs and cats.


A cat is a bad idea when your head is gone.


Yesterday it feels like I’m the very best liar we have. Come over and you’ll see if this makes sense.


Consequences are not needed anymore.


Awesome is a boring word that rhymes with time.


Crazy people are very fun games to play.


Novels are neat, tidy, and clean lawyers.


Bombs make strong enemies.


Love is fake news.


The dog is to cat as if I were Little Red Riding Hood.


Jobs are not done by the water.


Boxers get paid money and let the rest happen.


Fruits and vegetables aren’t healthy because everyone likes different things.


Good apples aren’t good bananas.


Rabid weasels don’t know what’s up.


Poop is a common side effect.


You don’t have to say that this is weird.


Hairless cats are really awkward and hairy men.


She won the medal for sleeping like a teenager.


On top of a mountain is where we fell down a mountain.


My favorite item that is very overpriced is everything everywhere.


My tummy growls when you are a class that is music always on replay.